School Improvement: Accountability Cycle
There is a shared professional responsibility for improvement across all of our academies. The role of each headteacher is to ensure that their academy is actively reviewing and evaluating their effectiveness and striving for excellence. The key driver for school improvement in Waterton Academy Trust (WAT) is the sharp and timely self-evaluation of the leadership team of the academy. The school improvement function of WAT is to develop and hone those self-evaluation skills and to provide appropriate and developmental challenge to the leadership team.
The core of the accountability process is the regular Academy Self-Evaluation Review (ASER) meetings. These take place at regular intervals throughout the year following an agreed agenda. The number of meetings a year is weighted according to the need of the academy. Those academies that are sponsored, which have moved into an Ofsted window or who have been identified for another reason as requiring closer support are identified will have at least 6 meetings during the year. Other academies will receive at least four meetings per year.
The first ASER meeting begins with Risk banding task in September and includes the agreement of the Key Performance Indicator Targets for the year. Regular accountability monitoring of the academy by MAT officers and the Academy Standards Committee (ASC) will use these KPI’s as both the internal indicator and the external comparative measure. This information feeds into the Headteacher Performance Management meeting.
There is cross-school moderation and challenge of each Academy Self Evaluation Summary Statement (Peer Challenge Review) which includes Peer Head teachers, Central SI team and an External Academy Improvement Advisor.
There are five points each year when summative attainment reports are shared with the ASC and MAT School Improvement Directors Committee. Any drop from KPI’s at these points will be investigated during the ASER meeting. If there are issues, which either the academy and/or SSIO feel that they do not have the capacity to improve on their own, then this will trigger support from the existing good practice and capacity across the MAT. If there is no resolution following that level of support then the SSIO will develop a formal action plan to improve the position of the academy. If the intensive support plan does not bring about a satisfactory change then the Trust board will signal a 'change in status' of the academy and consider it to be managed as a Sponsored Academy and will consider whether structural changes in leadership are required.
The SSIO and CEO meet weekly, and any concerns about a staffing issue or drop in standards can be reported informally quickly and weekly feedback on actions can be communicated. The SI Director and SSIO meet on a monthly basis. The SI committee meet three times a year and reports are presented to the full board 3 times a year.
The SSIO will also provide regular sessions with the Academy Leadership Team when requested or identified, providing additional capacity to their improvement work, developing the monitoring of impact and recording in the self-evaluation. This work will identify actions for the SLT to work on; some sessions are with middle leaders developing their accountability monitoring and evaluations and some sessions will be joint monitoring activities.
Schools identified as Stabilise Stage have additional school improvement support and systems. Any SDP will be required to have clear half termly success criteria. Regular half termly ASER meetings will look at progress in relation to the SDP. There will be an extended ASER meeting at the midpoint in the year to review overall progress in the academy with the SI team.
Capacity for school improvement comes from three levels:
Core Improvement Team
This is made up from centrally employed Improvement Team and Associate Improvement Partners
School to School Support
There is a growing cohort of Waterton SLE’s providing school to school support in all aspects of the curriculum and for all levels of leadership
Key Capacity Providers
We work in close partnership with other Multi Academy trusts, school improvement advisors and Teaching School Alliances to both provide and receive additional support capacity when required. We are currently involved in delivering two SSIF projects as part of a Wakefield strategy.
The academy works in close partnership with Optimum Data Services. Together we have developed our data tracking systems to match the assessment ethos of Waterton Academy Trust. The suite of reports is available to be used at an Academy SLT, MAT SLT, Local ASC and MAT Directors level. The reports are published to WES ( Web Portal ) each half term and are available to all governors and directors.
Key areas of Improvement in MAT capacity in 2017
We can use the talent pool within the MAT to intervene in under performance more quickly – we have acted far more quickly in schools when we identify need (eg Mill Dam).
Collective “brain” of leaders has led to increased expertise and reduced workload.
Trust wide CPD using a growing bank of Waterton knowledge and high quality external partners.
Trust wide sharing of curriculum & assessment resources developing formalised understanding and practice.
Strong non-educational support allowing the capacity of teachers and leaders to be focused on raising educational outcomes.
Moderation of assessment and standards between staff has led to greater accountability for outcomes across our school.
Enrichment offer for children is broader with greater opportunities to work together in a wide range of projects and competitions
Schools are finding it easier to recruit high quality staff (eg new teaching posts at NJA, Three new Deputy Headteacher posts and Three Headteacher posts). Plus we have retained talent in the trust even if not in the original school.
Governance at the school level is focused on pupil outcomes and quality of their learning experience. Review of Governance has resulted in a new model which is ready to implement which retains the importance of local accountability with a clearer emphasis on strategic governance at the board level.